I am a huge fan of long skirts. I love minis, too, for completely different reasons, but a flowy, forgiving maxi skirt is my go-to for the often elusive comfort-drama combination. It looks like floor-length skirts and dresses are going to be popular more or less indefinitely, so I hope these tips will be helpful.
CAVEAT THE SIZE OF ANTARCTICA: These are the guidelines that have worked for me. Depending on proportions, height, and personal taste, you may want to style yours drastically differently, or skip them altogether. So, as always, take my advice with several tablespoons of salt and decide for yourselves!
For ages, I bought long skirts made from stiff materials and that tapered a bit toward the hem. These made me look like a smiley bowling pin with a mop of brown curls. It wasn’t until I started looking for extremely long FLARED skirts, that I found my magic formula. This style of skirt works for me because the flare balances my behind. And just as bootcut jeans are almost universally flattering, skirts with a bell shape will work for many figure shapes. A floor-length skirt with a flare is like an a-line that’s been stretched out.
Columnar maxis fall in and out of style, but the relatively full, flared shape is nearly always on-trend.
This leather skirt is really more of a midi, which means it’s pushing the boundaries of shortness for me. I vastly prefer a skirt that is truly floor-length, about a half-inch from the ground when I’m standing. Any shorter than this and I worry about looking like I accidentally shrunk my skirt in the wash. (Not likely with leather, but you get my drift.) Additionally, hack another three inches off this hemline, and the skirt will hit at the widest part of my calf. I typically offset the slightly awkward length by wearing boots in the same color, though I’m breaking my own “rules” here.
A skirt that is truly floor-length does many things for your figure: It leaves your legs completely to the imagination, it creates a very elegant silhouette, and it balances your hips right at foot height. Midi skirts – anything that hits above your ankle bone – impact your figure in entirely different ways.
A long, voluminous skirt is an attention-grabbing piece, so I tend to stick to neutrals. And while I’d like to think I’d snap up a red one in a heartbeat, I’m sure it’d get worn far less than my blacks and tans.
If you’re curious but not sure about this look, start with a basic black maxi skirt.
I wish I had some magical formula that would help every last one of you create balanced, proportional, flattering outfits with long skirts as the base. But I cannot because balance will depend strongly on your own figures and proportions. I will say, though, that as is the case for most skirts you want to err on the side of a slightly shorter top, if you’re going untucked. Not cropped, just something that falls above the hip bone.
Above all: HAVE FUN. Of all the non-fancy clothing items available for everyday wear, maxi skirts are among the most physically enjoyable, in my opinion. The weight, the swish, the float … all fantastic. Experiment with the style, find out what works for you, and swish your way through your days.
Originally posted 2010-04-05 05:47:00.